45-Year-Old Footage Shows Arthur C. Clarke Accurately Predicting The Future


Jack Dunhill

Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer

clockAug 31 2021, 15:29 UTC
Arthur C. Clarke

He knew way more than he should've. Image Credit: spatuletail /

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, writer of 2001: A Space Odyssey and proud futurist, had a lot of ideas about how the future of technology would look. Despite living in a time when computers were a strange, space-age technology and the floppy disk had only just been invented, the revolutionary writer spoke confidently about social media, instant messaging, online shopping, and much more.  

Now, an interview of him speaking in 1976 about the future shows that he was incredibly accurate, and got a huge number of things correct.  


The footage comes from the 1976 AT&T and MIT conference on tech and futurism. Attended by prominent scientists and theorists, the interview was filmed for an episode of Bell System magazine, in which Clarke had an open conversation on the future of communications. He goes on to describe many things we now see as normal: messaging technology, such as texting; Amazon books and online grocery shopping; traveling around the world for pleasure, as opposed to necessity or work; communication satellites; and even the slow decline of paper news as it makes way for technology. 

Of course, there were also things he got wrong (or at least, haven’t been developed yet). Clarke believed the world would be in a single timezone in the future, and that commuting would be a thing of the past. Here's hoping that one comes true. 

Despite being a world-famous author, Clarke was also a brilliant inventor. In 1945, Clarke independently conceived the first idea of a communications satellite, decades before it could become a reality. He also was an avid underwater explorer, and discovered the underwater ruins of the Koneswaram Temple while scuba diving. 

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